NORTHFIELD (AP) -- When St. Olaf College disappeared from the list of U.S. schools that send the most students abroad for study, Pat Quade received 50 phone calls and e-mails.
Quade, the school's director of international and off-campus studies, was being asked if St. Olaf had fallen off the map.
It was all a mistake, but a reminder of the importance people place in such measures. "No matter what you think of these rankings, people do take notice," Quade said.
At a time when Minnesota's private colleges increasingly are looking for ways to stand out in the pack, such slights hurt. At this time of the year, schools try to play up their strong points to attract good students and faculty members and build their endowments.
For some, it means playing up a high ranking on a report such as the U.S. News and World Report annual college guide. For others, it means identifying a niche, such as St. Olaf's study-abroad programs or Gustavus Adolphus College's annual Nobel Conference on science. Sometimes it starts with a new logo or a catchy slogan.
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